Unoccupied Property Rating

Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties.

After this period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs.

In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the empty property rate. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of this bill.

Exemptions from the unoccupied rate include cases where property is constructed or adapted for use in the course of a trade or business, and:

  • is kept vacant by reason of action taken by or on behalf of the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting the occupation of the hereditament or to acquiring it
  • is the subject of a building preservation notice as defined by section 58 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 or is included in a list compiled under section 54 of that Act
  • is included in the Schedule of monuments compiled under section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979
  • is a qualifying industrial hereditament (see definitions below)
  • its rateable value is less than £1,000 in the 1990 rating list, £1,500 in the 1995 rating list, £1,900 in the 2000 rating list, £2,200 in the 2005 rating list, £2,600 in the 2010 rating list, or £2,900 in the 2017 list
  • the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • there subsists in respect of the owner's estate a bankruptcy order within the meaning of parts 8 to 11 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • the owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament in his capacity as trustee under a deed or arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies
  • the owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is wound up voluntarily under that Act
  • the owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under section 112 or section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986


In ascertaining whether a hereditament has been continuously unoccupied for a period of three months, periods of occupation of less than six weeks will not be taken into account (although any occupied periods will be charged for).

"Qualifying industrial hereditament" means any hereditament other than a retail hereditament in relation to which all buildings comprised in the hereditament are constructed or adapted for use in the course of a trade or business, and, constructed or adapted for use for one or more of the following purposes, or one or more such purposes and one or more purposes ancillary thereto:

  • the manufacture, repair or adaptation of goods or materials, or the subjection of goods or materials to any process
  • storage (including the storage or handling of goods in the course of their distribution)
  • the working or processing of minerals
  • the generation of electricity

"Retail hereditament" means any hereditament where any building or part of a building comprised in the hereditament is constructed or adapted for the purpose of the retail provision of goods, or services, other than storage for distribution services, on or from the hereditament.

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